Detroit City FC defeated Kalamazoo FC, 2-1, for its fifth league win in a row in front of 5,345 fans on Friday night at Keyworth Stadium.
Man of the Match Elijah Rice, who made his City debut, became the hero of the night in the 67th minute with the game-winning goal. The other Le Rouge strike came in the 30th minute when Roddy Green sent one in off an assist from Bakie Goodman.
Kalamazoo fought hard to level the game in the 48th minute, 1-1, thanks to Jay McIntosh. Head coach Ben Pirmann subbed in Rice at the perfect moment, though, as his game-winning strike happened just two minutes after entering the match.
The victory lifts Detroit (5-2-1, 17 points) to only one point behind second-place Lansing United in the Great Lakes Division. City remains comfortably in third place, while KZFC falls to 2-2-5 with eight points and sits in fifth place.
Unlike City’s first meeting with KZFC on June 11th, which the Boys in Rouge won 1-0, this game featured physical play all the way through. There were seven total yellow cards handed out in the match, five for Kalamazoo FC.
In addition to being another important league match, it was also the club’s annual charity match in support of City’s 2017 charity partner, Alternatives For Girls. Players donned special charity kits for the match in support of AFG and auctioned them off following the game – with all proceeds going to the charity.
The game opened with some chances for City in what turned into a physical and active match from the get go. KZFC slightly controlled more possession until the 14th minute when Hunter Vandenboom was given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
This fueled further altercations four minutes later when Kalamazoo’s Alex Ruddock was yellow carded for another rough tackle. Green received a yellow card as well for knocking Ruddock to the ground in retaliation.
A solid chance for City came in the 25th minute when Spencer Glass passed the ball into Green in the box for an open shot. His rip was denied by Kalamazoo goalie Wes Mink.
City controlled possession for the remainder of the half. The team’s press led to the eventual first goal in the 30th minute. Green was able to bury one past Mink in the box all thanks to a nice assist from Goodman.
In the 31st minute, Kalamazoo had a dangerous chance to tie, but Spencer Glass cleared the danger, using his head for the goal line clearance. Another yellow card was issued in the 37th minute to Kalamazoo’s Jay McIntosh for rough tackle on Luke Hauswirth.
The first half ended with City up, 1-0. Kalamazoo came out hungry in the second half, though. McIntosh tied the game, 1-1, in the 48th minute. DCFC responded well to quell any further threats from the Kalamazoo strikers and were right back working to regain the lead.
In the 54th minute, a foul on Hunter Vandenboom on Cyrus Saydee at the top of the box led to a chance for City. Stephen Carroll’s free kick was blocked by the wall, but his second chance shot found its way to Mink, who made the save.
The chances were several for City afterwards, with Shawn Lawson, substitute Tyrone Mondi and Goodman all connecting consistently throughout the second half for chances in the box.
After yet another KZFC yellow card to Tommy Clark in the 63rd minute for throwing Goodman down, the hard working midfielder nearly got an assist for a classy chip to Mondi, who just missed the target.
The hard work finally paid off for City in the 67th minute after a wise substitute by Pirmann two minutes prior. Pirmann sent Elijah Rice in for his City debut, who immediately delivered, putting Le Rouge up 2-1. His goal came off a header from a Mondi corner that bounced off the outside of the near post and to Rice’s feet.
In the 72nd minute, another yellow card was issued to Kalamazoo. This time, it was Nick Wysong. Shortly after, captain Dave Edwardson and Derrick Otim subbed in for Goodman and Green to help close things down. In the 87th minute, Detroit’s Aaron Franco was handed the game’s final yellow card.
KZFC pressed hard in the final 15 minutes of the match, with their most notable chance coming from McIntosh in the 76th minute. His shot, however, was stuffed by Le Rouge goalie Colin Miller. Miller, along with substitutes Tyler Moorman and Kervin Kenton, helped guide the team to a 2-1 victory and three crucial points.
City is back in action this Sunday afternoon at 3 pm when the team travels to Milwaukee to take on the fourth-place Torrent at Hart Park. Detroit will not only be looking for its sixth straight win, but also a potential move into second place in the division.
Detroit Starting XI: 3 Spencer Glass, 5 Stephen Carroll, 9 Shawn Lawson, 10 Cyrus Saydee (Capt.), 12 Luke Hauswirth, 13 Bakie Goodman, 14 Zach Bock, 19 Roddy Green, 21 Aaron Franco, 30 Colin Miller (GK), 37 Max Todd
Kalamazoo Starting XI: 1 Wes Mink (GK), 2 Alex Ruddock, 4 Ade Adeniyi, 7 Ali Sodal, 8 Hunter Vandenboom, 9 Jay McIntosh, 15 Tommy Clark, 20 Nicholas King, 21 Cameron Sipple, 22 Joshua Robison, 95 Harrison Howes